November 13, 2009

Confession

Did you miss me? I'm here, just busy. After all, it is the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year.

I have a confession to make. An embarrassing one. But Internet, I need to get this off my chest.

I genuinely thought that I would beat the tantrums and screaming that is closely associated with this phenomenon known as the "terrible twos." I honestly thought we wouldn't see them . . . we'd skip right over them. Until about 22 months of age, Jack was the picture of a happy, obedient child who sat nicely in time outs when he did something wrong and apologized when he disobeyed. We followed the love and logic system of discipline and it worked like a charm. But then we had that momentous weekend in Chicago that changed life forever.

For real . . . up until then, I would see a toddler embarrassing his parents with a public tantrum and feel sorry for them. I would wonder what they did, or didn't do, to cause that kind of behavior. I patted myself on the back and thanked God that I didn't have to deal with that. I knew that I wasn't perfect and that my parenting wouldn't always be perfect, but I thought that reading enough books and watching enough parenting segments on the Today Show could keep us from melt downs.

And it's true that I do think we're better off with the research and reading we've done on discipline and raising children. But I don't know what I was thinking. Did I think I was some sort of parenting superhero? I never actually said, "My child will never act like that." And I don't think I thought those exact words. But in my mind, I was convinced that we would manage to avoid it. I don't know if I really felt this way, or if I'm just remembering it this way. In any case, I had no idea what I was in for.

Because after that fateful weekend in Chicago, it got worse. And then we threw a brand new baby into the mix and watch out! Life exploded in our faces leaving small pieces of parenting shrapnel all over our kitchen floor . . . which is okay, because it hasn't been mopped in months anyway.

Jack is in the middle of the terrible twos. He defines the phrase "terrible twos." At least I hope he does. I'm praying that it doesn't get worse. Because the bad days are B. A. D.

The good news is that I still love him. And at this point, I consider loving him and taking care of him even in the midst of this stage, a huge parenting success. Kyle and I both beat ourselves up for losing patience with him so often, but we're doing our best. This can't last forever, right?

When I hear new parents, or DINKS watch people dealing with a misbehaving toddler and allude to the fact that their children will never behave like that, I smile and respond, "You're right. They won't." Because those few years of ignorance really are bliss. And we might as well let them enjoy that thought while it lasts.

4 comments:

Erin K. said...

How funny. I've repented many times for all the moments when I was inwardly critical of parents with small kids.

I also try to remember this for the moments when I start to get critical of parents with elementary, tween, or teen kids. Like you, I've now learned that you never really know until you get there. :-)

The Giffen Family said...

I'm with you huge parental success "when you say loving and taking care of him" There are days when I've apologized to Will as many times as he's been disciplined and I'm not apologizing for disciplining either.
I'm right there with you and I admit I thought the same thing prior to having Will and then prior to Will being in this stage. I think it's human nature to think we can handle some differently (better) than someone else (the "if I were the President" mentality)

Know you aren't alone...I'm right there with you and I'm only the mama of one -- you are a superhero! ;)

heresthediehl said...

please go back and read my blog from approximately the beginning (oct 2007, bennett was 2 1/2) to oh, about 4 months ago. right there with you on the "loving and taking care of him" being a huge success.

bennett has never been an easy kid, but i can definitely say that at 4 1/2, he's way past the nonsense that 2 and 3 brought for us. hang in there...

Noelle said...

I'm not so sure I like the nickname "DINKS"...it makes us sound super shallow and ignorant...I don't really think of my income as "disposable" nor do I think that I have any financial freedom because I don't have kids.

I know you didn't coin the term, but I'm a little offended that someone out there has given people like me a label :(